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Voinovich School’s Rain to River project partners with Athens County libraries to feature interactive display

Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs' 'Rain to River' project has a new interactive storm water display, which will be featured in Athens County Public Libraries from February – May 2018, to highlight storm water pollution prevention best practices while providing an interactive, educational experience.

The Rain to River storm water project encourages citizen participation to manage home-scale activities that help reduce pollution of storm sewers and ultimately pollution of rivers, said Jen Bowman, director of environmental programs at the Voinovich School.

"On one side of the exhibit you'll see what is typical for how storm water is managed, or not managed, within our communities and in our neighborhoods. On the other side are solutions to storm water management that would be preventing pollution to our streams and rivers," Bowman said.

Best management practices highlighted on the display include incorporating rain barrels, bio-swales and retention ponds, rain gardens, and installing permeable pavers on driveways and other impermeable surfaces to prevent excess runoff pollution.

The interactive display was designed by staff from the Voinovich School and Gerard Hilferty & Associates Inc., an Athens-based museum planning design company whose focus is on interpretive exhibits. The portable display was constructed by the Texas-based Museum Fabrication Group LLC. Funding for the project is provided by a generous grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Education Fund.

The unit has real activities people can do at home to reduce the amount of runoff that drains to rivers through storm drains, according to the Voinovich School environmental specialist Nora Sullivan.

"Our hope with this display is to raise people's awareness that the water entering storm drains goes directly to nearby rivers; it does not go through any water treatment, while also giving display-observers practical solutions to help with current storm-drain pollution problems," said Sullivan.

Rain to River's interactive storm water display will be featured during the following dates and locations:

February 5-16, 2018: Wells Public Library (Albany)

February 16 - March 2, 2018: Nelsonville Public Library

March 2-30, 2018: Athens Branch

March 30 - April 13, 2018: Coolville Branch

April 13 - May 7, 2018: Glouster Branch

May 7-21, 2018: The Plains Branch

Contact Jen Bowman at bownmanj2@ohio.edu /740.597.3101 to request Rain to River's interactive display at your next water-education event. Interested parties can also schedule to borrow a Rain to River storm drain stenciling kit, to label storm water sewer drains.